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HTC's new flagship One pushes lots of envelopes

The HTC One, earlier codenamed the M7, has been one of the most anticipated from its stables. But was the wait really worth it? We find out.

twitter-logoNidhi Singal | April 15, 2013 | Updated 18:06 IST

Price: Rs 42,990
Rating: 4.5/5
Specs: 4.7 inch full HD display; 4 MP Ultra Pixel Camera; Android Jelly Bean; 1.7GHz quad core processor; 2GB RAM; 32GB onboard storage; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G; 143 grams; 2300 mAh battery

There is a new flagship smartphone in the market to take on the likes of the iPhone 5, the Nokia Lumia 920 and the yet-to-be-launched Samsung Galaxy SIV. HTC has had quite a few new models in recent months, but the HTC One, earlier codenamed the M7, has been one of the most anticipated from its stables. But was the wait really worth it?

Industrial Design:
The design seems to have been a no-brainer, for the HTC has pretty much replicated the looks of the Apple iPhone 5. The design is full-metal with a zero gap construction. The edges feel slim, and unlike the iPhone 5 this one has a slightly curved back that is comfortable in the hand. Then there is the 4.7-inch full HD display which has an unprecedented 468 pixels per inch resolution.

But this beautiful piece of hardware isn't perfect. The power key on top is feels embedded into the panel and you have to keep seraching for it to unlock the phone. The capacitive touch keys for home and back are placed such that it is not accessible during single hand use.

User Interface:
HTC's Sense interface has been its great differentiator in the crowded Android space. The latest version on the One, called Blink Feed, is superb. It is a new page on the home screen that feels a lot like a Zite or a Flipboard. But it is heavily customisable as you can choose the topics and feeds you want to see on your homescreen. Every time we unlocked the One, the Blink Feed welcomed us by keeping us abreast with the latest happenings. The new application launcher tray is also neat and free flowing.

Read it on paper and you might wonder what a 4MP camera is doing on a flagship at a time when even mid-level phones have 8MP. HTC One is pushing its new "ultra pixel" technology which the company claims gives the sensor larger pixels that can take up to three times more light improving perfomance dramatically. The camera also comes with an optical image stabilizer. And we must say HTC's claims are not unfounded as the images captured are crisp and bright, even in low-light conditions. But there was noise in some images.

TEST BENCH:Picture samples from HTC One's camera

Plus, the new Zeo app captures videos and still images simultaneously. Technically, it shoots one second video before taking a still image and then continue to shoot for next 3 seconds and then stitches them together. The One also captures decent videos at 1080p resolution.

This monster has got a new quad-core Snapdragon from Qualcomm clocked at 1.7GHz, yoked to a 2GB RAM which is sort oF becoming the new industry norm for high-end smartphones. The performance was snappy and the Quadrant score of 12,122 is more than double that of the Sony Xperia Z. The phone did everything from browsing, camera, gaming, documentation to multitasking without any lag.

The only front where the One's superb experience is spoiled is its battery. The 2300 mAh battery should last a day with average use, but our two push mail accounts, Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp runnng full-time wth browsing, calling and a little camera use, it died before the end of the day. We also felt that the One took too much time to charge.

A near-perfect Android smartphone.

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